IntroductionOpen education broadens access to the learning and training traditionally offered through formal education systems. The qualifier "open" refers to the elimination of barriers that can preclude both opportunities and recognition for participation in institution-based learning. Such barriers might include high monetary costs, outdated or obsolete materials, and legal mechanisms that prevent collaboration among scholars and educators. One aspect of openness or "opening up" education is the development and adoption of open educational resources (OERs).
Open education and flexible learning
Open education is motivated by a belief that learners want to exercise agency in their studies. Specifically, people engaged in the learning process want to conduct inquiries about potential topics of study, to have a hands-on educational experience instead of a strictly textbook-focused education, to take responsibility for their educational decisions, to experience the emotional and physical side of education, to understand how education and community are related, and to have personal choice in the focus of their classroom studies.
Promoting collaboration and Active Learning
Promoting collaboration is central to open education. As the Open Education Consortium says: "sharing is probably the most basic characteristic of education: education is sharing knowledge, insights, and information with others, upon which new knowledge, skills, ideas, and understanding can be built."
Students also benefit from open educational resources when they access these materials to supplement the education they might receive in a classroom. Some students do not have access to a high-quality education, but using OERs affords them opportunities to enhance their knowledge independently—despite the barriers preventing them from acquiring the knowledge and skills they seek.
Open Education and the Schoolrate Platform
Open educational resources are most useful when educators distribute them in open formats, so teachers and students can use those resources regardless of the particular technical platforms their schools have adopted. Projects like the Schoolrate act as repositories for high-quality open educational resources.